The impact of Ireland’s gay marriage referendum is being felt in countries around the world.
On Friday, the country became the first in the world to legalise same sex marriage by public vote as a referendum on the matter was overwhelmingly won by the ‘Yes’ campaign. In the days since the result was announced, politicians in Germany and Australia have called for their respective governments to take action.
In an interview with German newspaper Die Welt, the country’s Green Party leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt said the Irish vote was “a great signal”. She added that Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is the leader of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union party, “cannot just sit out the debate on marriage for all”.
She was backed by Volker Beck, the party’s domestic policy spokesman. He said:
“The Irish people have made it clear: the oppression of gays and lesbians is not a Christian value.”
Green Party politicians in the Australian Senate have been similarly bolstered by the Irish referendum. The party hopes to move a debate on Senator Sarah Hanson-Young’s private members bill forward to June, with a possible vote in November. If the bill passes, the current restrictions on marriage as something that can only happen between a man and a woman would be eliminated.
Hanson-Young said that the “time is ripe for marriage equality in Australia” and that “it’s time [MPs] got on with ending discrimination”.
Marriage equality is starting to gain popularity in Italy. Like Ireland, it has historically strong ties to the Catholic Church. In the first Italian survey since the Irish referendum, one of the country’s newspapers found 51 per cent support for legalising gay marriage. Over two thirds of respondents also voiced their support for civil unions.
However, there is still some resistance. A senior Vatican official said he was “deeply saddened” by the result in Ireland and claimed it represented a “defeat for humanity”.
Meanwhile, the Arctic nation of Greenland has legalised gay marriage and allowed same sex couples to adopt. Its parliament approved the measure in a unanimous 27-0 vote. While the country is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, it has been self-governed since 2009. When the Danish government legalised same sex marriage in 2012, Greenland did not initially follow suit. The newly passed law will come into effect this October.